[Karen Naess for Shaw Media]
"We're starting to play a lot better as a team," Pellegrini said, "starting to get up in transition and get up and down the floor."
Pellegrini certainly isn't one to take running for granted.
She played varsity basketball as a freshman, but did so with nagging bunion pain in both of her feet throughout the season.
Pellegrini, it turned out, had Osgood-Schlatters disease, a hereditary condition common among adolescents that causes knee and foot pain.
She had surgery on both feet in March, and was on crutches for three and a half months.
Determined to keep working at her game, Pellegrini went to her garage every day, sat in a chair and worked on her ballhandling and shot form – hoisting as many as 200 shots.
"It was weird," Pellegrini laughed. "But I wanted to do whatever I could to get better and come back better."
She indeed did so over the summer, first with her high school team and then in club with her Truth AAU team.
"She had a dynamite summer and fall," North coach Mike Tomczak said. "Multiple times she led us in scoring. This is a kid that played varsity as a freshman. She has a nose for the ball and loves to play in transition, but she could never do what she fully expected to do."
Pellegrini, though, wasn't quite done with her foot woes.
Her feet were bugging at the start of the season, and she ended up having to have a third surgery Thanksgiving week to remove the screws from previous surgery. She played with stitches in her feet, finally feeling like herself and pain-free toward the end of December.
"The last couple weeks she's been showing another gear," Tomczak said. "We're excited about her."
Pellegrini is excited, too.
She ran upward of three miles a day alone to get back into playing shape. She also made a big adjustment in her shot form, spacing her feet further apart to provide better balance.
"It feels good to be able to play, and play to my full potential, to do what I can do," Pellegrini said. "Before, when I was hurting, I was hesitant; I couldn't fun as fast or shoot as well as I know I can. I couldn't jump, really. I'm not feeling pain anymore."